Emmitsburg, Md. -- Longtime Mount St. Mary's University head track and field coach Jim Deegan has announced his retirement, effective June 30, 2006. Deegan, who coached 100 All-Americas and 26 national champions at the NCAA Division I and II levels, is in his 50th year at the University. It is expected that associate head coach Jim Stevenson will take over for Deegan at the end of the school year.
Deegan's resume includes coaching 11 Olympic athletes including 1988 1500-meter gold medalist Peter Rono. In one of the finest hours in the history of Mount St. Mary's athletics, Rono outraced a strong field to capture the gold at the Seoul Olympics. Rono was the most successful of five Mount athletes that competed at those games with Deegan traveling with them as their personal coach.
"It's been a great run and a lot of fun," said Deegan. "The program will continue to be successful under the leadership of Jim Stevenson, an All-American NCAA Division I decathlete and a Mount graduate who has been with the program for 11 years."
No stranger to the Olympics, the Mount track program sent six athletes to the 1984 Los Angeles games. For his years of dedication while building the Mount track and field program and developing world-class athletes, Deegan was awarded "The Governor's Citation" by Maryland Governor William D. Schaffer in the fall of 1988.
"Coach Deegan built a tremendous track and field legacy at Mount St. Mary's. He is a great teacher and leader and his extraordinary accomplishments will not only be measured in terms of victories and championships, but in the number of lives he has positively affected," said Dr. Thomas H. Powell, University president.
One of Deegan's best seasons at the Mount came in 1987 when the school produced 16 NCAA All-Americas and five national champions. That same spring, the distance medley relay team of Dave Lishebo, Rono and Kip and Charles Cheruiyot bettered the world record while placing third at the Penn Relays in what has been labeled "The Greatest Race of All-Time."
"The world has been made more eventful and colorful with the athletes Jim has trained, their eloquent stories of accomplishment, the long winded tales of fun and the brilliant jokes only a few could grasp. There is a lifetime of memories carved on the walls of fame. Jim Deegan is the unflappable, consummate teacher. We hope that he will continue to be close to our program," said Dr. Harold "Chappy" Menninger, Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at the Mount.